FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John hopes its newly launched awareness campaign will lead to less garbage being recycled.

The recycling awareness campaign was announced on Monday and will provide residents with information regarding the City’s curbside recycling program.

Over the next couple of weeks, the City will be posting waste disposal information and tips on its social media pages, updating its “What Goes Where?” brochure, and providing quick recycling reference stickers for curbside carts.

The City has also partnered with Praire Robotics, out of Saskatchewan, which specializes in artificial intelligence software that could pinpoint contaminants in trucks and log the address of the offenders.

According to the company’s website, recycling trucks are equipped with cameras, GPS and computers. Photos are taken of the material collected and assigned to the household where the pickup occurred. The technology also pinpoints contaminants and sends out emails to each household, detailing each pickup.

Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Victor Shopland, mentioned the technology in May when presenting an action plan to council. At the time, Shopland said the technology would be trialed soon and, if successful, would cost $2,500 per month.

The launch of the campaign comes after several attempts by the City to address the problem over the years. However, contamination levels remain high.

According to the City, 2,426 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfills in the Peace Regional District last year.  Nationally, Canadians throw away 3.3 million tonnes of plastic every year, and only nine per cent is recycled.

“We recognize that we all have a role to play in reducing the amount of waste produced in our region, and if residents need help sorting their recycling, it’s our responsibility to provide resources in order to be a part of the solution,” said Jeremy Garner, director of Public Works and Utilities.

“Now more than ever, waste and environmental impact are at the forefront of people’s minds. By helping residents better navigate our waste disposal
programs, we can make great strides for the future of Fort St. John―together.”

The City resumed bin audits earlier this year after continually finding garbage in blue bins and started implementing a three strike rule.

Residents are given three chances to recycle properly before getting their bin taken away. To get your bin back, the three $100 tickets issued must be paid as well as an administrative fee.

Last year, 20 violations and $2,000 in fines were issued to residents who weren’t recycling correctly.

The City’s media release can be viewed below: